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Going Big or Going Home

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By Melanie Williams (May 26, 2016)
Each year tens of thousands of pilgrims visit the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy on Eden Hill in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Who are they, and what draws them here? The following is the latest in our "Pilgrims Progress" series. Meet Flo Dylan and her son Tim:

On a gorgeous, sunny spring day at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, Flo Dylan and her son Tim were making a pilgrimage in thanksgiving to God for Tim's three years of sobriety.

Flo, 77, and Tim, 56, are radically living out what Jesus exhorts His disciples in John 10:10: "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Flo, from Long Island, New York, has been praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy along with the EWTN chaplet broadcast every day for more than a year, and she decided to come visit her son who lives in nearby Pittsfield.

"My prayer intentions are a laundry list long: the mental health of my niece, my sister who is ill, my grandsons, their conversions and freedom from drugs and alcohol, and now, in thanksgiving for my son's sobriety, which is why we are here today!" Tim struggled with alcohol abuse for over 40 years, and he knew well that "the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy."

"In my twenties I heard about paths to sobriety but didn't want anything to do with it," said Tim. "Then I had a severe accident 10 years ago, which resulted from my drinking, and it led to me moving back into my mother's house to recuperate."

After physically recovering from the accident, he moved to Pittsfield but did not have the motivation to sober up until three years ago when his sister overdosed on heroin.

"It was a shock to me when my daughter passed away," Flo explained, "but I was thankful that I still had my son."

"You still got me, dearie," Tim replied lovingly to his mother. "It was truly a miracle that I was able to finally enter rehab after my sister passed away, and now I have been sober three years. I thought I would never be sober. It is truly only by a miracle, by the grace of God, that I am still here today and clean. I was the last person who I thought could be free, yet here I am."

"I am so, so thankful that he is," Flo said.

Now that Tim is clean, healthy, on his own again, and seeking the Lord, Flo came to visit him. Deciding to truly live life to the fullest, Flo (in the deep heart of her golden years), woke up on the day I met them wanting to go zip lining in the area with her son.

"Go big or go home!" Tim exclaimed.

"That's right," affirmed his mother.

But they didn't realize they needed reservations to do so, and it was all booked for the day, so they decided to spend the day making a trip to the Shrine to give thanks for God's mercy on Tim and to pray for the sobriety and health of all of their relatives.

"When we say, 'Go big or go home,' coming here of course is all part of it," Flo said. "Coming here was so important to me, after having prayed so many days at 3:15 with the television broadcast of the chaplet from the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy on EWTN for my son and all of my children and grandchildren."

"And I told my mother that I don't have cable, so to see [the Shrine], I would have to go in person," Tim explained.

Thankfully, it's very close to where Tim lives, and Flo's dream of visiting the Shrine in person came true.

Over and over again Tim kept saying it was a miracle that he is here and sober, and all he can do is thank and praise God for His abundant mercy and the many miracles in his life — from saving him from his accident and bringing him to sobriety for three years now. Flo praises God as well and continues her daily prayers, having lost one child to drugs, but thankful for the saving of another from the grips of the evil one. From now on, thanks be to God and His infinite Mercy, Flo and Tim pledge to live the rest of their lives every day for the Lord.

Combining Jesus' exhortation to live life to the fullest and their own motto, "Go big or go home!" in just a few days they have a reservation to go zip lining together, mother and son, before Flo returns home to Long Island.

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Elizabeth - May 27, 2016

We give thanks and praise the Lord for His Divine Mercy for Tim! We must always pray without ceasing. I will remember you in my prayers and devotion to the Divine Mercy.